Sunday, February 01, 2009

Quote For The Day

"You know, in a fifth set, anything can happen. That's the problem. Not usually the better player always wins. Just a matter of momentum sometimes.

"You know, maybe I should have never been there, you know, in the first place. But, I mean, I think he played well. You know, I definitely played a terrible fifth set, you know. I kind of handed it over to him.

I mean, no doubt he's one of the tougher guys out there for a fifth set ‑ no doubt." --Roger Federer


Des said...

I always come on here to see what's the worst that can be thrown at Federer after a loss, just so I'm prepared, and of course you didn't dissapoint. Naturally you want us to assume that he means Rafa is not the better player. That's always your shtick. Whatever, I don't care to argue with you. Yes, Roger is such an egoist, tralala...

But for MY money, this was the quote of the day:

Q. You proved yourself as a true king.

RAFAEL NADAL: Oh, no, no. Well, the true, no. I don't know. I just win for sure an important title for my careera. But I no better five hours before than now, no? That's the true, no?

When you win an important match, but you have to know before the match who you are and after the match you have to know who you are, too. You are the same, no?

Beth said...

Rafa has of his best qualities without a doubt.

b said...


thanks for the quote - that's a great one...... i'm going to look up the interview.....

reminds me of what Uncle Toni (stated that he) said to him after the Wimbledon 2007 final (when Rafa was crying *in the locker room*) - I thought Toni's response was a bit harsh - but sounds like Rafa took it to heart

Craig Hickman said...

Des, don't put words in my mouth.

I've been defending Raja today.

I don't want you to assume anything.

I just present the quotes.

Des said...

I don't have to put any words in your mouth at all, since you consistently open your mouth on the subject.

I'd love to hear a single word of defense for Federer on this blog. The foundations of this universe may collapse. No seriously, I dare ya! I will come back and apologize if that's the case. You don't need my apology like Federer doesn't need your words of defense, but it would be nice.

parseval said...

I'm a lurker on this blog, and I must agree with Des that this blog tends to regularly discredit Fed after his defeats, and play down his victories (example, his victories against Nadal, Roddick, Murray).

Not that bias is wrong, as you're entitled to have your opinion on your personal blog. Just saying that I don't think that you're a neutral commentator (in the sense, i don't think you like federer, or think he deserves his 13 GS record).

Anyway, fantastic game of tennis, and Nadal is a true champion. He is well on his way to being considered the greatest of all time.

ánimas said...

I have following this blog for a while, and I don't think it's biased against Federer. I just think it's not blinded by the media trends and noise. Federer is an enormous player, his technique probably the best ever. But he has never been challenged or pushed to his limits the way Nadal does, the latter underrated by the pundits till this very night (king of clay, dirty boy, gladiator in the baseline...). Nadal has astonishing strokes and an iron force of will, but not a marketable image.

Maybe I am wrong, but I think Federer crying was due to a conscious or unconscious feeling of being manipulated for a long time since.

Anyway, congrats to Nadal and a lot of respect for a couple of great sportmen.

PeytonAllen said...

I think Craig is fair. Queer as a button, but fair. :)

Been busy of late gang, sorry I haven't commented much. Couple quick notes as i've got baked goods to watch in preparation for the big game.

It was a great match. I'm watching the first set now since i was fast asleep when it aired live. Just saw the game where Nadal broke back at 4-2. Some amazing points by Rafa. To have gas left in the tank after the Semi is remarkable.

The fact that this was the slower of the two hard court Majors def. helps. Both men made some amazing gets. But, its not surprising this was the first Hard major Nadal won.

As he did at Wimbledon, Roger played great. Perfect? No. But against your rival you're not going to get off the starting blocks cleanly. Against Roddick or most of the field, Roger's mind is cluttered. He has no fear.

Nadal forces errors. He forces nerves. Just as Ali/Fraizer did to each other, etc.

But by and large I'd give both men an A on their games.

Nadal is in Fed's head, but to what degree? Roger came to play, so he's not afraid to compete against Nadal (which is great) he doesn't fear losing. He's able to unleash some great tennis. But its clear as has been the case throughout their rivalry, deep in the match, when matches between them on the line, Federer blinks.

Still, this was the first time he choked outright. If he didn't, would he have won? You can't say. All you can say is Roger let it get away, that's obvious. But, they were neck and neck, and at 13-6 head to head for him to suggest "the best player doesn't always win in the 5th set" is a joke. The best players don't choke then cry in front of legends.

I did feel bad when he cried. But, look he just won the US Open. Let's not act as if Federer's world ended. He will get to 14 and probably at least 15. I don't see how that's not happening.

But, GOAT claims need to be put aside until Nadal's career plays out.

For Nadal, we're almost certainly talking about 1/2 of the Grand Slam becoming a reality. If he gets 3/4 of the way there, it certainly will make the usual "Nadal is gassed for the American Summer" routine a lot more interestingly, historically speaking huh.

For Federer, life goes on. But aside from chasing 14, his career needs a big win against Nadal to have bullet proof credibility. The man has spent two years chasing history, now he's chasing a Spaniard for peace of mind too.

Any wonder he choked?

tangerine said...

Why do the Federer fans bother to come here to gripe about Craig's blog when they could just go to the rest of the media to read all the Roger-is-God articles out there to their heart's content? Once again, the media focuses on Roger losing instead of Rafa winning. That is infuriating.

Des said...


Why because I can come to this blog and read the worst opinions on here, so that nothing I see for months in the media surprises me. This site is kind of useful to me in that way.

I mean, where else can I come across the freakish Federer in cahoots with draw gods theory? This blog is quite special, don't ever doubt that.

For the record, I think I was once pleasantly surprised after the Wimbledon match, but that's about it. And hey, craig is entitled to his opinion. I just took issue with his choice of the quotes, which I thought was far below the one readily available from Nadal's interview. Craig can take a little criticism, no? I guess the choice of quotes is about what you choose to focus on...

Well, since no omgdefense is forthcoming from craig's quarter, I shall quietly disappe~

Craig Hickman said...


I'm a blogger. I write opinion pieces and offer up my insights on the mental aspects of matchups and matches. I make no claims at neutrality or objectivity.

Read my tag line: Irrevent musings of a tennis fanatic.

Does that sound like a place where you will find neutrality?

You're swarming, honey. You're swarming.

Keep it real.

Craig Hickman said...

Des, you're being unreal. I've defended Federer's crying, I've defended Federer's "slump" as nothing other than caving to pressure, I've defended Federer on many other things.

Don't make hyberbolic accusations that aren't founded in truth.

Don't shoot the messenger, either.

I'm not here to defend Roger Federer to your liking. I'm here to tell the truth as I see it.

Agree with me or not, but keep it real.

I'm not Roger Federer. Be mad at him if you must be mad at somebody. Not me.

Yes, I can take criticism. I'm a writer. But I prefer that the criticism be founded in truth. Otherwise, I'm not compelled to take it seriously, look in the mirror, and see if I want to change a bit of what I see.


vince said...

ánimas, I agree with your post, however re: Nadal being less marketable than Federer, check out Craig's earlier post:

I think Federer cried because he badly wanted the 14th, and he knew all the Tennis Establishment wanted it and the legends were there and Rod Laver was there and everyone was watching but he couldn't deliver.

ceruleanxstar said...

I think Roger fans are grasping at any straws they's infuriating how everything leading up to these matches consists of "well, Rafa can't do it because he's never won on grass, he's never won on HC, etc." and the moment he does do it, it's like everyone's in denial that it might actually be true. HE WON.

Watching Roger cry, I think the truth just hit him despite the one million barriers of denial put up by the press, his fans, and most of all, himself.

Helen W said...

Well, here's another heartwarming quote from Federer, this time in relation to his dismantling of Del Potro: he just wanted to put Del Potro “out of his misery”." (See Neil Harmon's excellent summary of the AO final.

ladyvenoms said...

I love Craig's blog. I read it every day. it's just refreshing to have another voice out there other than the slathering Fed worship that happens. He's even handed but he calls it like he sees it.

Besides, I always say: If you don't like what's written, write it yourself. That's what I did.

Dan Scarlett said...

Dear Des and Company,
Craig did not badmouth Roger---he merely let Roger do it to himself-- in his own embarrassingly arrogant words.
If the fawning press had not spent the last five years stuffing down our throats the myth of the "humble sportsman--ever gracious both in victory and (oh-so-rare) defeat", we would not react so strongly to Roger's insufferable description of the 5th set:
"I kind of handed it over to it him."
At that point, it's vomit time--- and gives Webster's Dictionary the ultimate definition of pure, unadulterated ego.
Bravo Craig, for letting Roger speak for himself!
Peyton Allen, I agree with you except for saying Roger has no fear--fear was the operative factor in his Melbourne demise.

Savannah said...

Great read HelenW. Thanks for the link. I wasn't aware of the Del Potro comment.

Tennisfan said...

I don't think Craig runs a pro-anything blog. He is a blogger, and he isn't Roger's fan. I am sure he knows exactly what brings attention. I love coming here because I am a tennis fan and am fond of Craig's writing. Why can Fed fans not visit here or comment here? Is this "Rafa-is-God articles out there to their heart's content" blog?

There are people who spend most of their time finding faults in Roger’s. I would care less. But it perplexed me to find some Rafa’s fans are more interested in Roger’s tears, pressers, personality, his easy draws,.. etc etc, than finding joy in Rafa's freshly won FIRST HARD COURT SLAM.

If I were Rafa’s fan, to hell win Roger. He could have tied himself upside down in front of my window and I wouldn’t give a darn..……

cate said...

There are people who spend most of their time finding faults in Roger’s. I would care less. But it perplexed me to find some Rafa’s fans are more interested in Roger’s tears, pressers, personality, his easy draws,.. etc etc, than finding joy in Rafa's freshly won FIRST HARD COURT SLAM.


Helen W said...

I find it amusing that some of the very same people that continuously fawn over Federer -- you know, the folks that are still mentioning that if you don't count clay, Roger is ahead in the head-2-head, and anyway he's such a humble guy, yadda yadda yadda -- are busy telling Nadal fans how to feel and behave.

I wonder how the fan that was waving his/her "Rafa just got Rogered!!! sign is feeling now? A bit silly perhaps? Probably not -- that would be expecting a touch of class from The Worshipful. And that's just another difference between the fans -- I didn't see any Rafa fans waving derogatory signs about Roger.

Even in the presentation ceremony, Roger was presented as "Everyone's Favourite Tennis Player." At which point a voice from the crowd piped up "Not Everyone's! He got that right!

oddman said...

Tennisfan, you are right, this is not a pro-Rafa blog, or an anti-Federer blog. It's a tennis blog. And I think Craig keeps it real around here.

Re: why haven't the Rafa fans been finding joy in his first hardcourt slam? Well, I know I am. Delighted, actually. But doesn't it seem like all the focus is on Fed again.. the media hype before the match, the number 14 blaring at us from the tv's, and then, what Fed needs to do yet again to beat Rafa, blah blah blah.... meh. Then I see Fed getting teary at 2-5 in the 5th, and crying postmatch, that put me at a real loss for words. Did you see Rafa giving him a 'wtf' look? I've been digesting all that the whole day today. And the thing is still only halfway down my gullet.

Anyway, of course I'm thrilled for Rafa! Each and every time he's come through when all the pundits and experts were blathering on and on - 'he can only play on clay' - 'he won't be able to challenge on grass' - 'he'll never get a hardcourt major' - anyone who spouts this crap can forever more SHUT THE %$*^& UP.

Rafa is a gem - not only is he a great tennis player, a fighter, a tenacious foe, but he is also such a giving spirit - (See postmatch award ceremony). I'm so proud to be a fan of this man.

Roy said...

Cate, Rafa fans cannot find joy in his win because Roger robbed him of a true celebration. Roger, selfish Roger, cried and made a spectacle of himself, used up more fact time on the podium than the champ. Rafa couldn't jump up and down with his first win because it would disturb weak Roger. Rafa had to say I am sorry to Roger. For what? Did Roger say I'm sorry to Murray at USO? No. Did Roger say I'm sorry to Djok at USO last year? No. He raised the trophies in the air with gusto. Who should be on the cover of the news reports? Rafa, but instead Roger is the main photo with his croc tears.
Helen I din't know about what he said regarding del Potro. Fed is mean. He goes after the younger guys over and over, with glee. He taunts them. Now they are sitting and watching with pleasure his certain demise from tennis. Won't be long. He'll be on the senior circuit in a few years.

Helen W said...

Roy, Roger fans have no clue as to how Rafa fans are feeling. Just because we are posting on the latest Roger nonsense does not mean that we are not celebrating his win. I know I am, and so are my friends. But given the never-ending litany of dismissive remarks about Rafa from some of The Worshipful, for years, it is hardly surprising that we are replying


Live with it. After all, 99.99% of the time, we suck it up and don't say anything.

oddman said...

Yep. I agree. To all those who ever said Rafa couldn't do X, Y, Z, etc, etc...




(goes back to celebrating...)

Tennisfan said...

I am not talking about media, I am only reading this blog which I often visit. Media says what they want about Roger, Rafa, Novak, Murray. They bring you up and drag you down.

I don't understand why some people think Roger's crying is his attempt to steal Rafa's thunder. He has always been this way all his career. The guy just couldn't help it. Why did people want him to do? I just hope no one has to face a situation when they couldn't help but cry in public. Everyone is different. Some could deal with their emotion better than others.

I never say Roger is a humble guy, not about Rafa either. In my opinion, no one is who they seem to be on TV. I don't know them to judge them. I am just a tennis fan who happens to like Roger's game. I'd celebrate Roger's win, not his opponent's loss or tears. Isn't holding the throphy most important? I wouldn't have minded it were the other way around, and I would have given a big hug to Rafa if I could.

It seems this site has become antiFed even with Rafa winning. More like a now. And I don't even visit federer website. Such a shame though...

Craig Hickman said...

Tennisfan, after Slam finals when Rafa beats Raja, Rafa fans have a celebration. And a purge. And they tend to come here because, well, it's a place for irreverent musings.

I think that's the crux of it. Federer fans seem to become unraveled when tennis fans don't show Roger reverence.

And they swarm here to defend their man.

No shame in that game. I'm humbled by their presence.

Then the discussion turns into a debate. And that's perfectly fine.

This is not a fan blog. If it is, it's a fan blog for Serena Williams and Andy Roddick. For that, I do not apologize.

Those are the only two players of which I consider myself a fan.

But this is not a fan blog.

Fans of all sorts of players frequent and contribute to this blog, both as editors and readers. I sought out a Federer fan to contribute as an editor because I wanted some balance.

Rafael Nadal won big - huge, even - last night. It's normal that his fans celebrate. It's normal that his fans author a backlash to the hype surrounding Federer before, during, and after the final.

It's to be expected.

Even Andy Murray got more hype than Rafael Nadal throughout this fortnight.

All I ask is that people try not to take it personally. I know that's hard because we often live vicariously through our faves.

No shame in that game either.

I hope you continue reading us.

MMT said...

There can no longer be any doubt that Nadal is better than Federer on all surfaces and all occasions. He is indisputably the best player in the world. I think he'll win the calendar year grand slam in 2009 – it's the natural progression to an impeccable arc of improvements in all facets of his game over the last 4 years. History is still being written, and it remains to be seen how the two will compare to one another when their careers are over, but it's clear that Nadal is the better player now, and objective posters can safely stop talking about his ascension in the context of Fed's "demise".

Federer dominated for so long, and everything said about him for so long was so positive, that those who’ve resented this all along will naturally revel in its unraveling. In the beginning the source was perhaps those who saw Roddick as the next great tennis champion and resented Fed’s dominance of him. Then it moved to those who resented how quickly the GOAT discussion moved from Sampras to Federer. Then as Nadal ascended, there's been a building resentment of all the attention Fed gets, ostensibly at the expense of Nadal. But an impartial observer has to admit that if you go by results, Fed earned his reputation, just as Nadal has now earned his.

Nadal's ascension to the summit, starting in 2008, has been viewed in the context of Federer's descent by the media, which I don’t think is a bias as much as a reflection of Fed’s record. Anyone who thinks the media are in the tank for Federer is blind to the obvious – his reputation was earned from results and not some collective desire for him to be anointed the greatest player of all time.

I mean, let’s consider the reverse – would it have made any sense if they simply put it down to all the caveats of his doubters? Could anyone take seriously a pundit who said, between 2005 and 2007, “Fed’s not that good – everyone’s building him up to be something he isn’t – his results have been very fortunate because the era is weak and he’s had easy draws. Really, I think Nadal is the best player in the world, and he’s just been unfortunate to have had tough draws, in tournament scheduling, and an ATP schedule skewed in favor of players who specialize on faster surfaces.”

A comment like that would be laughed out of the room. But somehow, for some of the posters here, and all over the web, this is the only kind of comment that shows you haven't been duped by the great Fed Hype Machine. It's ridiculous.

But given that Nadal has now won 3 of the last 4 slams, and he's done it on 3 different surfaces, and won MS titles and the Olympics, it's natural for the conversation to begin to take on the same leaning towards Nadal as it did towards Federer for all those years. He’s proven that he is now the better player with no caveats.

It's also fair to say that Nadal supporters, who've been waiting 4 years to have their day will continue to resent any diversion of attention away from Nadal to Federer. And Federer supporters who haven't given up hope that the good ol' days could return, resent the speed with which Nadal now has to be considered the man to beat everywhere. It's not different than with Sampras fans and Roddick fans.

Craig has revealed in the past that he doesn't particularly like Federer, and that he's a Roddick fan, so you have to keep that in mind when reading this blog. That said, I think he's done as good a job of lauding Federer as any Roddick fan could, over the last few years. He’d have to be a monk not to resist a few juicy headlines like the quote spawning this thread, or this one:

“Rafael Nadal has denied Roger Federer (and all the pundits) history. But he made a bit of his own.”

Implicit here is the idea that the pundits WANTED Fed to make his history, but isn’t it reasonable to assume they just BELIEVED he would? And even if they did WANT him to do it, does it mean that their praise of him has been biased? If anyone had won 11 out of 16 grand slams over 4 years, could a pundit who didn’t laud him for it be taken seriously?

Wouldn’t it be obvious, based on the record, that such intentional ignorance it would be evidence of bias AGAINST such a player?